Mysuru, Aug 17 (IANS) Karnataka Minister S.T. Somashekar on Tuesday urged parents to send their children to schools without any fear."The government is with you. All precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of children. The classes are beginning on August 23. I am there always. The decision to open schools has been made as per suggestions of experts. The situation is bouncing back to normalcy. Case positivity rate is declining, the mortality rate is also coming down," he said.However, BJP lawmaker B. Harshavardhan appealed to the government to reconsider the decision to open schools."I don't know how the state government took such a vital decision to start classes for 9 and 10 students without consultation of stakeholders."As a parent, I will strongly oppose this decision. Will the government take responsibility if the virus infects elders from school-going boys. The government should review its decision," he said.--IANSmka/vd
Lucknow, Aug 16 (IANS) Schools in Uttar Pradesh reopened on Monday with classes from 9 to 12 having 50 per cent attendance.A low student attendance and strict adherence to Covid protocols marked the first day of schools."There was excitement but shadowed by hesitancy. I was excited about meeting my friends and teacher after almost five months but the shadow of the Covid also loomed large. The seating arrangement had been changed to maintain distance and only a handful of students were present today," said Ankita Mehrotra a class 10 student at a reputed girls' school.At the entrance gate, arrangements had been made for thermal scanning and sanitizers were placed at the entrance and in every classroom. Mask was compulsory for students, teachers and staff members as well. Social distance was also being insisted in the schools.--IANSamita/rs
New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has jointly developed a telerobotic ultrasound system in collaboration with IIT Delhi and Addverb Technologies.The research collaboration between IIT Delhi and AIIMS allows remote ultrasound access through a robotic arm.The research team at AIIMS was led by Chandrashekhara, while Chetan Arora and Subir Kumar Saha led the IIT-D team. The lead contributor for the research was Suvayan Nandi from Addverb Technologies along with other researchers.This system allows performing ultrasound from remote locations through the robotic arm. In the routine ultrasound setting, the doctor (radiologist) stands in close contact with the patient for the entire scan duration. However, cross-sectional imaging is preferred in the current pandemic scenario with stringent social distancing requirements -- a more expensive and less dynamic technique. Ultrasonography is a non-invasive, non-ionizing, cost-effective, rapid, bedside, and readily available modality with immense use in point-of-care and follow-up examinations.Chandrashekhara said, "This system will promote healthcare and make our system more prepared for further pandemics. Besides its role in the pandemic, it will allow a better outreach of ultrasound imaging to remote and rural areas of India. The radiologist manipulates the ultrasound probe remotely from a remote location, acquires the ultrasonographs, and then transmits them to the monitors at the doctor's end through a WiFi network. "Sitting at a remote location, the doctor can now visualise all the images and assess the patient, similar to a clinical setting. The facility can also be extended for global outreach."--IANSavr/arm
Hyderabad, Aug 13 (IANS) At a time when India, like the rest of the world, is in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing into focus the huge inadequacies in the already fragile healthcare system in the country, revival of the family doctor system is one idea which can go a long way in improving healthcare delivery, feels eminent physician P. Raghu Ram.The leading breast cancer surgeon is of the view that revival of family doctor/general practitioner (GP) system and making them the first point of contact for the patients for any sickness or for preventive visit will ensure that expensive hospital resources are used on those who need them the most. "The once upon a time ubiquitous family doctor/GP concept has almost become extinct in the country. Most 'worried well' who are asymptomatic, and equally, those with minor common ailments rush to the hospitals, which are already overwhelmed with sick patients," the Padma Shri awardee doctor told IANS. He cited the 2020 report of the Medical Council of India, which says that around 44,000 postgraduate seats are available for 55,000 doctors who graduate every year. "In other words, the vast majority will become specialists. It is indeed an irony that the new MBBS curriculum does not even include a mention about the family doctor/GP concept in its voluminous 890-page document. There are not many applicants for the 'Family Medicine' DNB postgraduate courses conducted by the National Board of Examinations because the number of centres accredited to train doctors wishing to pursue a career as a family physician are few and far between," said Raghu Ram, Director, KIMS-Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases, Hyderabad. The doctor, who recently received the Order of British Empire (OBE), pointed out that the concept of visiting the family doctor/GP before a patient sees a specialist is the standard practice in the UK's National Health Service (NHS). "The GP is the principal treating doctor who manages most minor issues sensibly based upon evidence and refers patients to specialist centres only when needed. An effective primary care sorts the serious from the non-serious by speedy and accurate diagnosis, directs hospital referrals to the most appropriate speciality and ensures that expensive hospital resources are expended on those who will benefit the most," he said. Stating that the ongoing Covid pandemic has brought to sharp focus the huge inadequacies in India's already fragile healthcare system, he said that India must invest in training GPs in addition to popularising and sensitising young impressionable students who have joined MBBS courses about the family medicine concept."Furthermore, primary healthcare infrastructure in rural India (where more than 70 per cent of our population resides) must be strengthened so that more patients are served locally by GPs, thus obviating the arduous and time consuming task of travelling long distances for assessment/treatment," he said. "GPs must be 'gatekeepers' of our healthcare system. They should be the first point of contact for patients for any sickness or preventive visit. The UK's NHS model of providing universal primary healthcare through public-private partnership (PPP) may be appropriate for adaptation in the Indian context. Most healthcare in India is provided by the private sector and there is a robust potential for private sector involvement in improving primary healthcare delivery in the country," he added. Raghu Ram wants to see the Government of India initiate concrete and implementable measures to ensure that the family doctor concept is revived. "It is time to make primary healthcare in the country more innovative, inclusive, collaborative and sustainable. An important component of the Hippocratic Oath is to 'keep the good of the patient as the highest priority' and this landmark step would pave the path in this direction by ensuring well controlled uniform effective healthcare to the citizenry," said Raghu Ram. Among the foremost surgeons in the Asia Pacific region, Raghu Ram established South Asia's first comprehensive Breast Health Centre and founded a charitable foundation to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer nationwide. Immediate past president of the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI), he is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and all four surgical Royal Colleges in the British Isles - Edinburgh, England, Glasgow & Ireland.He was conferred the Honorary FRCS by the Royal College of Surgeons of Thailand (2019), Honorary Fellowship of the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka (2020), and is the only surgeon of Indian origin in over 100 years to be conferred the Fellowship of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain & Ireland (2021). --IANS ms/arm
New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) A Class 12 student from Delhi has moved the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the Centre and state governments to take a time-bound decision in connection with the physical re-opening of schools and conduct of offline teaching.Petitioner Amar Prem Prakash said he is echoing the sentiments and feelings of a large body of the student community and fraternity of the country, particularly underprivileged and voiceless children. The petitioner said he is aggrieved by the "indecision and vacillation" on the part of the Centre and states/Union Territories (UTs), in the matter of re-opening of schools and resumption of physical classes with adequate safeguards. "Raising this very vital issue regarding the deprivation and ill-effects, both psychological and actual, of school children being kept away from attending their schools physically," said the plea filed through advocate Prem Prakash Mehrotra.The plea emphasised the deprivation of regular school and teaching in the congenial and academic environment of a student's education institution, is leaving an indelible mark on the psyche of student community. "A holistic and considered decision in regard to re-opening of schools will not only end the uncertainty and speculation in this regard, but also assuage the sentiment of the student community in the country," the plea said.The plea said having virtual classes and the non-reopening of the schools in the country is proving to be not only detrimental to the interests of students, but also tantamount to discrimination and unfair treatment.--IANSss/vd
Washington, Aug 13 (IASN) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine to administer an additional dose in people with weaker immune systems, which includes organ transplant recipients.The third dose will be administered at least 28 days following the two-dose regimen of the same vaccine to individuals 18 years of age or older (ages 12 or older for Pfizer-BioNTech) who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise, the agency said in a statement on Thursday.People with organ transplantation and those immunocompromised in a similar manner have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases, and they are especially vulnerable to infections, including Covid-19.The roll out of booster dose is based on FDA's evaluation in these individuals, according to which the administration of third vaccine doses may increase protection in this population."The country has entered yet another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines," said Janet Woodcock, Acting FDA Commissioner, in the statement."Today's action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from Covid-19. As we've previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine at this time. The FDA is actively engaged in a science-based, rigorous process with our federal partners to consider whether an additional dose may be needed in the future," she added.These patients should be counseled to maintain physical precautions to help prevent Covid-19. In addition, close contacts of immunocompromised persons should get vaccinated, as appropriate for their health status, to provide increased protection to their loved ones, the FDA said.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss further clinical recommendations regarding immunocompromised individuals.The two-shot Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech is currently authorised for emergency use in individuals ages 12 and older and is administered three weeks apart, while the Moderna shots are authorised for emergency use in individuals ages 18 and older, administered one month apart.--IANSrvt/in
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